Do Trans Fatty Acids Increase the Risk of Heart Disease

Trans fatty acids are naturally found in low percentages in most animal fats, including milk and dairy products. These fatty acids are made by bacteria in the stomachs of cows and other grazing animals, by converting cis unsaturated fatty acids in grass and leaves to trans (see Chapter 5). Furthermore, when vegetable oils are hydrogenated, some of the points of unsaturation are converted from a cis to a trans design. It does appear that trans fatty acids impact blood lipids in many people by raising total and LDL-cholesterol when compared with oils containing unsaturated fatty acids. In addition, HDL-cholesterol levels may also be reduced. Thus the important message is that trans fatty acids can have an unhealthy effect similar to saturated fatty acids. Thus, one of the most potent ways to lower your total and LDL cholesterol is to limit saturated fat and trans fatty acid levels in your diet.

Trans fatty acids promote heart disease in a manner similar to saturated fat.

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